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AZ legislation would allow Colorado River Indian Tribes to lease water for use off of reservation

National Park Service

Arizona senators have introduced legislation that would allow the Colorado River Indian Tribes – or CRIT - to lease water for use in Arizona off of the reservation.

The legislation was sought by the tribes and is designed to be mutually beneficial for both sides, at a time when Arizona is facing cutbacks in Colorado River water.

The tribes would be compensated for the water that comes from their lands along the Colorado river in western Arizona, but the deal must be approved by Congress and the secretary of the Interior.

In Arizona, tribes that receive Colorado River water from the Central Arizona Project canal are allowed to lease their water. Several have done so, including the Gila River Indian Community, which signed a $27.6 million agreement with Phoenix in 2008. Under the 100-year lease, the tribe provides 15,000 acre-feet per year to the city.